Bharwan Karela | Stuffed Bitter Gourd

This is truly and purely my Mom’s recipe. Bitter Gourd is generally not enjoyed by all, but trust me once you try this recipe you’re going to love it. 

Salt Tip: To reduce the bitterness from the bitter gourd we soak it in salt. Even after rinsing off thoroughly some salt is left in it, so add a very little salt while cooking.

Also try: Bharwan Bhindi.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: North Indian

Time: Preparation – 5 mins, Soaking – 2 hours, Cooking – 25 mins, Total – 2.5 hours

Servings: 4


  1. Karela (Bitter Gourd) – 4 medium
  2. Onions – 4 medium (grated)
  3. Raw Mango – 1/2 cup (grated)
  4. Green Chilli – 2 (finely chopped)
  5. Fennel Seed Powder – 2 tsp
  6. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  9. Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Oil – 5 tbsp
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Thread – to tie the bitter gourds.

How to make Bharwan Karela:

  1. Wash the bitter gourd. Cut the tails. Peel it a little thick with the help of a knife (not peeler). Keep the peel aside
  2. Slit the bitter gourds from the center and remove the seeds, it should remain intact
  3. Add 2-3 tsp of salt on the chopped bitter gourd and it’s peel. Mix coat it in salt. Keep aside for 2 hours. It helps in reducing the bitterness
  4. Wash the bitter gourds and it’s peel thoroughly. Separate the peel from it
  5. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a kadai or a pan. Add the bitter gourd peel. Saute for 2 mins on medium flame
  6. Add grated onions and green chillies. Saute and cook for 2-3 mins
  7. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Cook till onions are golden brown
  8. Add fennel seed powder, garam masala powder, grated raw mango and salt (if required add a very little bit as karela already has it due to initial soaking in the salt). Cook for 4-5 mins
  9. Your stuffing is ready. Keep aside and let it cool down
  10. Now take the bitter gourds and stuff them with the stuffing. Take the thread and roll it around the bitter gourd a few times and tie a single knot in the end. Keep aside the remaining stuffing (incase left)
  11. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai or a pan. Add stuffed bitter gourds and turn from all the sides so that they’re oiled
  12. Cover and cook on low flame till bitter gourds are soft and cooked. Keep turning them in between so that they’re crispy from all the sides
  13. Now add the remaining stuffing to the pan. Mix and cook for 2-3 mins
  14. Your Bharwan Karela or Stuffed Bitter Gourd is ready. Remove the thread before serving
  15. Serve hot with Phulkas, Parathas or Daal-Chawal.


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